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Jews,
Christians
Through
the
Years


Jim
Becka

The
customs
of
Jesus
and
his
disciples
are
much
different
than
those
found
in
modern

Christianity.
How
did
the
evolution
take
place?


Jan.
11,
2010


Introduction

Though I was raised in the religion of my mother, a Roman


Catholic, my father’s ethnic family was Jewish and while I was living
in the Old City of Jerusalem I met a group of Jewish followers of
Jesus. They could have easily been mistaken for a Baptist gathering;
however, some adhered to kosher diets and observed traditional
Jewish holidays. One elderly scholar in the group pointed out that
Jesus never renounced Judaism.
Messianic Jews accept Jesus as the Messiah. In the modern
world they might seem strange to some, but God has taken the
followers of Jesus through many twists and turns in the last 2,000
years. Christianity began as a Jewish sect with the brother of Jesus
as a major leader, and was later taken over by Constantine and the
Romans.
God used Rome and Greece to bring the message of salvation
to the world; but, the originators or Christianity (Jews) are back on the
scene in increasing numbers. A recent Israeli television station1
claimed that there are 15-20 Messianic Jewish congregations in
Jerusalem alone, and the Jerusalem Post published an article in the
late 1990’s claiming that more Jews have accepted Jesus in the past
20 years than the entire previous 2,000 years.


























































1
Channel
2,
Messianic
Jews,
April 26, 2007, Youtube


JEWS,
CHRISTIANS
THROUGH
THE
YEARS
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Changes in Church Culture

The Jewish mannerisms of Jesus found in the New Testament


are different than modern Christians. Jesus and his followers had a
dress, diet, and set of religious customs that have disappeared from
modern Christianity.
Strangely, many modern Christians overlook the Jewish
customs of Jesus and consider Christianity a gentile religion; but, was
Jesus’ plan to form a new religion apart from Judaism?
“Jesus was not a Jew,” said a young student in one of my high
school classes a few years ago. “That’s what my mother told me.”
The only message many young Christians hear in Christian churches
is that Jews crucified Jesus.
In reality, Jesus was very popular among the religious Jews of
his day. Whenever he spoke, Jews gathered in mass. Some
theologians believe Jesus was arrested and tried on a Jewish holy
day because the Jewish leadership, consisting of many non-religious
Jews, knew religious Jews would not be on the streets to stop the
crucifixion.
The Sadducees played a major role in the trial and
condemnation of Jesus and took a secular approach to life. They
were criticized by Jesus for using the Temple for business purposes,
and were similar to a political party and not entirely a religious sect.2
They did not believe in an after-life and probably would have not been
troubled by using a holy day for crucifying Jesus.


























































2
Dorot Ha'Rishonim


JEWS,
CHRISTIANS
THROUGH
THE
YEARS
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The religious Jews in the first century read the Tanakh, or Old
Testament, and knew that God made a promise with Abraham to
bless the world, and the coming Messiah would be born during a
specific time period. The prophet Daniel said the birth of the Messiah
would come after the order to restore the Second Temple, which took
place 500 years before the birth of Jesus; and before the Second
Temple was destroyed, 40 years after the death of Jesus.
Since Jesus came during this period, and the life and teachings
of Jesus resulted in the largest religion in modern times (i.e., fulfilling
the promises of God to Abraham), there can be not doubt that Jesus
was the Messiah.
Ironically, many Jews and Christians see Christianity as a
gentile religion. Both groups have attempted to build a wall between
Judaism and Christianity. The writings of Daniel are banned from
modern yeshiva’s (Torah schools) and the Romans and their
Emperor Constantine did their part to widen the divide between
Christians and Jews.
In 325 the Council of Nicaea met to codify Christian doctrines.
Jewish bishops were excluded from the meeting and seven years
later, Constantine ordered Christian Jews to abandon all ties to
Judaism or be killed.
Until the late 4th century AD, when Christianity was made the
official religion of Rome, Christians and Christian Jews lived in a
predominately Pagan world. The long established, official religion of
the Roman Empire was Pagan. It involved worship of a variety of
Roman deities, both Gods and Goddesses
A strong competitor to the followers of Jesus in those days was
JEWS,
CHRISTIANS
THROUGH
THE
YEARS
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a third religion: Mithraism. This faith involved the worship of a Persian
God Mithra. The Roman religion and Mithraism reserved Sunday as
their day of religious observance. Christians went along with moving
the Sabbath to Sunday.
Some feel the Christians were motivated to change the
Sabbath day as a method of distancing themselves from the Jews,
because the Romans disliked the Jews.
Since Nicaea, greater emphasis has been placed on the New
Testament. Many modern Christians consider the Tanakh irrelevant;
however, Jesus said: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or
the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.”3
One thing is certain: the Tanakh/Old Testament, as well as the
New Testament, are founded on Genesis. Without Genesis we would
not have Abraham. Without Abraham, we do not have Israel and
David. Without David we would not have Jesus Christ. Without Jesus
we do not have fulfillment of God’s covenant with Abraham.
Rabbi Mort Petrushansky a Messianic Jew from Houston was
surprised when he began attending Christian Bible studies in the
70’s, after accepting Jesus as Messiah in a Baptist Church. “I thought
I had become a gentile when I accepted Jesus,” said Petrushansky.
“But the ideas we talked about in our Christian Bible study were
based on Jewish ideas. I thought it was very strange.”
Most people never question why Jesus was in Jerusalem when
he was crucified, or why the believers were gathered together on the
Day of Pentecost. Throughout time, Christians have replaced Jewish


























































3
Matthew
5:17


JEWS,
CHRISTIANS
THROUGH
THE
YEARS
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holidays with other events. Sometimes they merely rename the
Jewish holidays.
Constantine merged Jewish and Christian cultures with
paganism and Roman culture, a practice that has continued during
the last 2,000 years. Christian missionaries have a tendency to
impose cultural customs on the new converts to Christianity. For
example, some missionaries from America might attempt to force
Africans to change their style of music from African drums to
Southern gospel quartets.
Converts often reject the cultural characteristics imposed on
them and reject Christianity (both), thinking converts must accept
both the culture of the missionary and Christian theology in order to
be a Christian (i.e., Some Africans might reject Christianity because
they may not wish to dress like European Christian missionaries).
James, the brother of Jesus, was the head of the Jerusalem
church after the crucifixion, and he (James) continued to follow
Mosaic Law. Paul indicated that it was not necessary for converts to
follow Jewish law; however, he never discouraged Jews from
following the laws of Moses.

Summary

I feel that God intended for Judaism and Christianity to be two


branches from the same tree, much as Baptists and Methodists
consider themselves Christian brothers.
Jewish and Old Testament holidays should not be a stumbling
block for modern Christianity. Which day we set aside for rest and
JEWS,
CHRISTIANS
THROUGH
THE
YEARS
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worship is less important than whether we choose to set aside a day
for rest and worship with other believers.
Many Christians are showing renewed interest in studying the
Old Testament and observing the holidays that Jesus observed. God
has a plan that welcomes all people of the world and the entire Bible
outlines this plan for followers of Jesus, Jew and gentile.
In addition to Daniel, many Jews avoid portions of Isaiah, which
points out that God does not play favorites4. The original promise to
Abraham was that multitudes would be blessed. Jesus came that all
might be blessed.


























































4
Isaiah
56:6


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CHRISTIANS
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